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McDonald’s Seeks Complete Automation

McDonald’s Seeks Complete Automation

By RZR News Team
Jul 09, 2023

Fast Facts

  • A McDonald’s in Fort Worth Texas has gone fully automated, requiring no human beings to work inside the restaurant.
  • This McDonald’s also has an “order ahead” lane, where patrons can pick up their orders via a conveyor belt.
  • Inside the restaurant is a single kiosk with a conveyor belt that will produce the order when it is ready.
  • This is part of an initiative by McDonald’s to grow and innovate the McDonald’s customer experience, receiving mixed reviews from consumers.
  • Depending on its success, this automated setup could be the first of many of its kind and usher in a new era in fast food service.

Analysis

The fast-food industry, including McDonald’s, has undergone a significant transformation with the rise of automation. While some may argue that this shift is a natural outcome of technological progress, a closer examination reveals that liberal policies have played a substantial role in driving this trend.

One of the primary drivers pushing McDonald’s towards automation is the mounting burden of labor costs imposed by liberal policies. Advocates for higher minimum wages often claim that it will improve the socioeconomic conditions of workers. However, the reality is that when businesses are compelled to pay higher wages, they seek alternative solutions, such as automation, to mitigate the increased expenses. McDonald’s, as a major player in the fast-food industry, has been forced to adapt to the rising labor costs in order to sustain profitability and meet the expectations of shareholders.

Additionally, liberal policies have inadvertently created a disincentive for businesses to invest in workforce development. Instead of prioritizing job training and upskilling opportunities, these policies tend to focus on short-term fixes, such as raising the minimum wage. While such measures may provide immediate benefits to certain workers, they discourage businesses from making long-term investments in their employees’ growth and development. Consequently, the gap in skills widens, prompting businesses to turn to automation as a means of addressing this challenge.

The increasing automation witnessed at McDonald’s and throughout the fast-food industry can, therefore, be partly attributed to the unintended consequences of liberal policies. It is crucial for policymakers to recognize the impact of their decisions on businesses and workers alike and to foster an environment that promotes innovation and encourages investment in workforce development. Only by striking a balance between the needs of businesses, workers and the evolving dynamics of the fast-food industry can we ensure a sustainable and prosperous future.

Learn more about the conservative viewpoint

The Mcdonald’s establishment is moving toward automation in a location in Fort Worth, Texas, gradually replacing the employees’ duty to take orders and manage the takeaway counter, but those working the kitchen will be handled by human employees. This is the franchise’s first fully functional-based technology restaurant, making it possible for North Texas residents to access their meals without having to interact only with a robot. There were videos on social media showing the restaurant as a grab-and-go without seating and dining and while McDonald’s celebrated the innovation, some people expressed mixed reactions.

At this location, customers can pick up their meals in a drive-through or go inside the store and use the touch kiosk. McDonald’s is appealing to customers that prefer to be on the go than dine inside. A Mcdonald’s run by robots means that the company wants increased efficiency and quicker turnaround times. On the positive side, having automated takeaway restaurants could save customer service workers from harassment and difficult working conditions. Also, it would improve speed and accuracy making the ordering and check-in processes more quick and efficient and people will less likely have to wait in long lines. On the downside, a limit on human interaction would make it harder for businesses to build relationships with their customers. Experts have also pointed out that despite the benefits, a Mcdonald’s run by robots could lead to job losses in the near future if this goes mainstream and take away the customer’s ability to complain about the service over a mistake.

It is true that automation could improve our lives and businesses in certain areas, however, the concerns over the increase in the unemployment rate should concern everyone and we should never undermine the productivity of humanity. The shift to automation has always been an option businesses were willing to consider and have experimented with; productivity even surged 5.4%.

Although people have long feared automation destroying jobs, it could also kick off a “virtuous circle” that helps the economy.  The harder it is to earn an income, the harder it will be to contribute to an economy and patronize any business for a product or service in the first place and businesses have made it clear that automation will replace workers. On the other hand, this seems to be only affecting low-level workers at least and it has been hypothesized that the boost of productivity thanks to these technological innovations, may give workers a stronger case for higher wages, which would lead to more investment into stimulating the economy. However, companies have to be willing to pay a decent wage and there is no telling if locally or federally there will be a demand for an increase.

So, there needs to be a limit as to what automation should occupy and the role it plays in operating inside the industries of our society. For example, employers should make it more of a priority and effort to train employees on how to run every position within their establishment of employment so in case something goes wrong with the automation and there is a person that could provide customer satisfaction to the best ability. 

– Briauna B  

Learn more about the independent viewpoint

It is not a smart idea to make McDonald’s an entirely automated fast food franchise. One major reason is that it will eliminate jobs for people. If the jobs are done entirely by robots, then there would be no reason for humans to work there meaning that they could potentially lose their jobs as well as the ability to provide for their families.

This goal for complete automation presumably stems from the fact that the first fully automated McDonald’s restaurant was opened earlier this year in Fort Worth, Texas. While that is a major accomplishment, it should not be a regular thing. Human beings are essential to the general workforce. The human interaction within the workforce is what adds depth and character to jobs all around the world. While robots seem to be smarter and more efficient than humans, they cannot encapsulate human nature.

Furthermore, this one act could potentially be a slippery slope. While it is McDonald’s right now eventually it could lead to automated grocery stores and corporate buildings which could put most of America out of jobs. While artificial intelligence is an asset to our society and has its rightful place. It should not be something that people need to depend on. It should only be used as a tool to assist in things that are beyond the average human comprehension. Managing a McDonald’s is not beyond the average human comprehension. 

The type of economy that we live in depends on human beings to be a stable presence in the workforce. While some people might argue that this economy can survive better with a workforce of intellectual robots, the social construct of human nature is what makes the modern-day workforce what it is today and that should remain in this society.

Learn more about the liberal viewpoint

If one were to send a poll to every American, and ask them if they had ever been to McDonald’s, the answer for “yes” would likely come back very close to 100%. Many might expand on that to say some of their happiest childhood memories include McDonald’s. Some of us might remember the thatched red roofs, wanting that one specific toy to come with our happy meal, or in some cases, us 90s kids looking forward to playing at the n64 kiosks McDonald’s carried for a brief time or playing in the play places to make friends we would never see again. 

Now the iconic fast food chain is making history once more as McDonald’s has opened a fully automated location in Fort Worth Texas. Yes, there is a McDonald’s location you can go to, and there are no human beings working there. You can even place your order ahead of your arrival, and the food will leave the restaurant on a conveyor belt

Now one might be wondering if this is a smart move on the part of McDonalds, which is a valid question. If Ray Kroc was alive today, and you asked him what he thought about automation, he could very well say this is the way of the future and business. Conversely, Kroc might be horrified that his beloved company has removed the human element and face of the business he worked so hard to build. Let’s look at both viewpoints independently to better understand them. 

On the one hand, one could say the elimination of lower-level jobs like working at McDonald’s forces society to evolve. Full automation also removes the margin of human error and allows for streamlined service. While some of the population would be displaced, they also could ultimately find a different industry to work in that arguably could be better than where they are now. 

All that being said, one must remember the value of walking into a place and interacting with another human being. For example, if you go up and ask for an extra ketchup packet, the machine may be programmed to only give you X number of packets, instead of X+1 with no exceptions. Furthermore, there is a certain human element to service, for better or worse, that cannot be replicated by a machine, like Cody Bondarchuk who added an extra nugget to every ten-piece order while he worked for the company. One must ask: is the price of progress worth paying if it means we must give up the humane element? 

Learn more about the libertarian viewpoint